Vladislav Shayakhmetov stands in the changing room entrance at the Coliseo el Pueblo in Cali, saddened and with his head bowed. He has just suffered a 5-4 defeat to Argentina in the final of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016, missing the chance to help Russia win a first-ever title.
"Unfortunately it's not the first final I've lost," the Russian captain told FIFA.com after the final whistle. "I've played in several but have always lost." Just a few months ago, for instance, the 35-year-old experienced defeat to Spain in the UEFA EURO 2016 title-decider.
This time the loss was a very narrow one and his side even took the lead, only to let in an equaliser 26 seconds later. In the second half Russia managed to pull level after going behind, but once again conceded within 17 seconds through Alan Brandi's strike for Argentina. "We probably lacked concentration both times," said the defender. "The match was decided by poor concentration."
It was also thanks to Brandi extending the lead with his second goal less than a minute later. "We didn't learn from the mistakes Portugal made in the semi-final," said Shayakhmetov, frustrated. "They conceded several goals in a short space of time against Argentina. And the same thing happened to us today."
Pride in performances
As aggravating as that may be, the defeat should in no way diminish Russia's achievements in Colombia. They reached a Futsal World Cup final for the first time ever, scored more goals (40) than any other team – Brazil were the closest challengers in this regard with 33 – and provided quite the spectacle for spectators. Although it is difficult to find the positives in the immediate aftermath of the game, the 5'10" (1.78 m) defender can look back on the past few weeks fondly.
"We need to settle down a bit now and then I'm sure it'll dawn on us what we've achieved," he said. "It was a fantastic success for Russian futsal. Not many teams manage to finish second at a World Cup. We reached the final, which is great." A hint of a smile even appeared on his face as he said this.
Next on the agenda is a return to the hotel, where the team will have dinner together before trying to get some rest. Shayakhmetov will be able to take consolation from speaking to his wife back home, as he will call her in a few minutes.
Yet the MFK Gazprom-Ugra player, who scored three goals at the tournament, already appears to have overcome the worst and is eager to look forwards: "We have to digest this, but we can't think about it for too long. We definitely shouldn't stick our heads in the sand."
Shayakhmetov is determined not to step down from international duty on the back of losing a final. Asked if he will represent Russia at another World Cup, his response is short and assertive: "Yes, of course." As he departs the Coliseo, his shoulders are still drooping a little but his body language is confident once more.